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Mamapreneur 101: Why You Need a Client Persona

When you’re just starting your business, you want to make any sale that you can get. Your mom wants something that you don’t currently offer? No problem, you can add it. Your friend needs something customized when you don’t offer customization? That’s fine! You bend over backwards to make any sale you can get and you’re excited about each and every one. But have you ever thought about how doing this sets your business up for failure?

Mamapreneur 101: Why You Need a Client Persona - Jenn Elwell

 

You’ve heard the phrase “an inch deep and a mile wide” and, when you are selling to the entire world, that’s what your business is like.

In trying to sell to everyone – you are actually selling to no one.

    • No one is being drawn to your brand because they identify with you.
    • Repeat customers are few and they’re rarely for the same product or service.
    • And your focus is pulled in a million different directions every day.

 

Mamapreneur 101: Why You Need a Client Persona - Jenn Elwell

Your business is not moving forward, but spreading thin.

 

The solution to moving away from selling to everyone is to create a client persona who embodies the only type of person to whom you are selling. This puts your business in a niche market selling to one type of person.

 

You must get specific with your client persona in order for this to work but, once you have a detailed persona created, all of a sudden your marketing becomes second nature. The time that you were spending trying to please everyone is now spent pleasing your dream clients that are paying you to do exactly what you want to do.

 

 

 

As an example, I’m going to share my client persona for Mama’s Black Book with you. While I’ve decided to pursue other projects right now, due to the amount of work the magazine required, I still have a very clear picture of who the magazine was for.

Mamapreneur 101: Why You Need a Client Persona - Jenn Elwell

       click to enlarge

Do you see how specific I got with my client persona?

Not only does she have an age and a general location but I know what kinds of products she loves to shop for, what brands she wears regularly, and the type of dog that she has!

I am the expert on Analise and being the expert on her makes my marketing decisions incredibly easy…

Should I promote MBB on YouTube?

– No, Analise doesn’t visit it.

Should the pdf version of the magazine be laid out in a full spread or single page?

– Single page, because Analise usually reads it on her iPad and she wants to focus on one page at a time.

 

Knowing exactly who I’m selling to not only makes my job easier but influences all of the smaller decisions regarding my product. I’m able to choose packaging, distribution avenues, colors, and more simply by knowing the type of person Analise is.

 

If you don’t currently have a detailed client persona written down, I encourage you to sit down today and create one. Get as detailed as you can about him or her. You’re going to find that knowing the exact type of person that you are selling to makes it infinitely easier to make decisions about your business. And you can be reassured knowing that creating a client persona doesn’t mean that you can’t sell to buyers that don’t fit your “ideal client” makeup, but it means that everything that you do as a business will attract the kind of clients that you want to get and keep in your business.

Business

What I Learned From My Tax Audit

You’ve been selected for a tax audit” is a scary sentence for a mamapreneur to hear on the phone….and I heard it a month ago. Luckily for me, my local sales tax office chose someone who is terrified of getting in trouble so I had (almost all of) my ducks already in a row. But I was still terrified to get audited and as the big day drew closer, my nerves only intensified.

 * Please note: Some links in this post are affiliate links because I want to share the products that are helpful in my business. These links are denoted with an * before the link and do not cost you anything extra but might provide me with a small percentage of the sale if you were to purchase.

 

Mamapreneur 101: How To Survive A Tax Audit - Jenn Elwell

 

Now that my audit is over I want to share some of my newfound knowledge with you. I’ll dig deeper into the “to do’s” in a later post, but this week let me tell you what I learned from my audit and how it’s changing the way I run my business.

Mamapreneur 101: How To Survive A Tax Audit - Jenn Elwell

  • They aren’t out to get you

So often auditors are painted in a negative light but I was pleasantly surprised to find not only a kind and understanding auditor, but one who told me from the beginning that her department was not concerned with raising funds but with making sure businesses were compliant. Just like having a business license protects you, so does having tax auditors. My local office wants to audit businesses regularly so that they can catch any errors before the fines, fees, and costs skyrocket. And my auditor explained the selection process to me and it sounds like it really is a random selection.

  • An accounting program and an accountant made my audit so much easier

I have an accountant who handles my annual taxes in addition to being a place of reference when I have questions. I also use *Quickbooks for my accounting which has an extensive report repository to pull from. Because I use both of these, gathering my information for my audit was fairly painless. Yes, I did have to print out a number of reports that I hadn’t been printing during my EOM bookkeeping previously, but, in all, gathering the information took no more than a couple of hours. And when I had a question about a form, my accountant was able to quickly email me exactly what I needed.

  • The tax office is an easy source for reliable answers

While myself, and hopefully everyone else that you read about online, works hard to try to provide you with accurate information, there is always the possibility of human error. In addition to that, the tax laws for your city could vary greatly from the tax laws in mine, so what I advise you to do may not have any application where you live. I found that my auditor was not only willing to answer questions about the correct ways to do things but also volunteered to pull specific codes for me and explain them to me so that I could understand exactly how to stay in compliance. I know it seems scary to call the tax office and you could be afraid that you would trigger an audit, but they really do just want to help you do everything right – and no one will be able to answer your questions better than the one who could find all the ways you’re doing it wrong.

Mamapreneur 101: How To Survive A Tax Audit - Jenn Elwell

Overall, my sales tax audit was practically painless. I did discover a few ways that I was unintentionally reporting incorrectly but they are easy fixes to modify as I go forward in my business.  I’m now confident that I’m keeping my books correctly which gives me an incredible peace of mind!

 

Business

Mamapreneur 101: Frequently Asked Questions About Business Licenses

Mamapreneurs often wonder if they really need a business license to conduct their business. Last week I addressed whether or not you need a business license and the answer is in almost all cases “Yes, you do.” But there are some other frequently asked questions about business licenses that I want to address today.

 

Mamapreneur 101: Frequently Asked Questions About Business Licenses

 

Do I need a business license to sell on Etsy?

Yes. Etsy does not require you to have a business license to comply with their terms of service, but your local governing agencies typically require you to have a business license to do business in their jurisdiction. So even if you are only selling on Etsy and never in your city, you will likely be required by your local government to have a business license.

 

Do I need a business if I resell my own stuff (examples: eBay, Poshmark, etc)?

Reselling your own property for a loss potentially means that you don’t need a business license. But that changes if you start making a profit on your sales, purchase items with the sole intent to sell it on the platform, or resell property for a profit. In that case, you will typically need a business license.

 

Do I need a business license if I am only selling online?

Yes. While you may or may not need to set up sales tax reporting if you are only selling online, your local government most likely requires you to have a business license when you are operating a business in their jurisdiction whether or not you are selling in person to those in the area.

Mamapreneur 101: Frequently Asked Questions About Business Licenses

 

How much do business licenses usually cost?

Business license fees are determined by each governing authority so the cost can vary. Typical costs are usually no less than $50. Some areas have a flat business license fee regardless of what type of business you are running. Others will charge based on your revenue and the type of business you’re operating.

 

How soon should I get a business license when I start a business?

A business license is generally required as soon as you start selling products so it’s ideal that you purchase a business license within the month that you start your business. If you wait to purchase a license you might be responsible for fees back to the original start date of your business.

 

Do I need a business license to sell as part of a market or trade show?

For markets in the area where you live, you will most likely be required to have a business license. For markets and shows outside of your normally licensed area, you should check with the market organizer to find out the requirements. Sometimes these types of events procure a license for all out of area shops and include part of the cost of the license in your application fee for the show. Organizers will be able to answer those questions, and if they can’t then you shouldn’t be partnering with the organization because you can’t be sure that they are operating legally.

 

I don’t sell products but only provide a service, do I need a business license?

Yes, no matter what you’re selling, if you’re operating a business you need a business license. [Sales tax may be a different issue but that’s for another day.]

 

How long does a business license usually last?

In general, a business license will typically be good through the remainder of the governing body’s operating year and then will need to be renewed annually.

 

How long does it usually take to get a business license?

The actual process of getting a license will vary based on your location but, when I went down to my city offices, it only took about 15 minutes.

 

Do I need a Federal Employer Identification Number to get a business license?

If you are a sole proprietor then you won’t need an EIN to get a business license because you will be running your business off of your social security number. If you are a different type of entity, you are mostly likely required to have an EIN for operation which would make it required for a business license.

 

I conduct business in several cities, do I have to get a business license in each city?

Yes, if you have a physical place of business (brick and mortar store) or run a business in multiple municipalities regularly, then you will likely need a business license in each of those areas.


Mamapreneur 101: Frequently Asked Questions About Business LicensesHow could the city find my business if I only sell online?

Governing entities use multiple resources to find businesses that are not abiding by their laws. If you have identified yourself anywhere online (social media, Etsy, Facebook profile, etc.), it would be very easy for them to find your business and notify you that you are not in compliance. Most governing bodies don’t have the time, manpower, or money to search out every small business but, if they happen to run across yours, you could be in trouble. If that’s the case, not only may you be liable for back licenses fees but your could also be required to pay penalties and they could deny your request to get a business license.

 

Must I have a business license if I’m not turning a profit?

Yes, you’re running a business even if you’re not turning a profit so you will need a business license.

 

If I have multiple businesses but they are all run from one address, do I need a separate business license for each business?

You should check with your local governing agency but in some cases you might be able to only have one business license and be operating multiple DBAs (“doing business as” businesses) from the one business license.

 

 

 

 

** Please remember that I am not a financial or legal advisor. All information that I offer is based on my own experience and is not to be taken as a replacement for consulting a financial or legal professional. Remember that all advice, articles, and education that you see online pertains to a specific type of business in a specific environment and you should always consult with someone familiar with the laws, guidelines, and best practices of your industry as well as being familiar with your individual company and area.

Business

Time Management: Three Keys Of Time Management

We are now into the second quarter of 2017. How’s your year looking so far?

Are you right where you thought you’d be?
Ahead of where you had planned?
Or lagging behind in your goals?

No matter what your year has looked like so far, I want to help you make the other three-quarters of 2017 even better for your business.

 

Time Management: Three Keys Of Time Management - JennElwell

I don’t know about you but every January I buy a new planner and decide that I’m going to solve my time management issues in the new year. And, up until now, I have ended the year just as frazzled as I started it… if not more so!

 

But in the past year I made a HUGE discovery in managing my time and I want to share my strategy with you. All it requires is a little time and concentration and your mindset on time management will shift allowing you to control your schedule instead of letting it control you.

Time Management: Three Keys Of Time Management - JennElwell
The three keys of time management are to…

       • KNOW WHAT IS REQUIRED

       • KNOW WHAT IS AVAILABLE

       • SCHEDULE IN BLOCKS

 

I won’t even try to say that I have the mamapreneur thing figured out but this simple strategy has taken me from overwhelmed and stressed to looking at my schedule with calm and even some excitement.

 

I’ve updated my class time management workbook to help you even more manage your time instead of letting it manage you. And right now you can get it for FREE by signing up right here.

Inside the workbook is not only more information on the three keys of time management, but some tips on how you can implement these keys in your life. In addition, you receive the worksheets that I use in my business to manage my time.

 

As mamas, we aren’t only managing our time but also the time of our family…and when we throw in the fact that we’re mamapreneurs and have to manage our business as well, then the amount of managing can become a huge burden. This is why these three keys help me simplify all that I’m responsible for and manage it in a way that works for me and my family.

 

I want you to start managing your time instead of letting your responsibilities manage it for you. Download the free workbook today to learn how to manage your time like a Mastermind Mamapreneur.

Business

Mamapreneur Mentor | Kristin Jones

Kristin Jones has changed my skincare routine and I’m loving the way it’s making me look and feel. After a mutual friend “introduced” us online last fall, we’ve worked together multiple times and she’s now my Rodan+Fields consultant. The one-on-one service that she provides her clients by checking in on them, finding what’s working and what’s not so she can suggest changes to your routine, and just being an overall encourager are amazing perks of being a part of her client list. I’m excited to share with you how Rodan+Fields has changed her life and what she’s learned from having her own business.

Mamapreneur Mentor | Kristin Jones

 

What title do you use to describe your position in your business and why did you choose that title?

CEO! I am able to run my business how I want to and around our busy schedule.

Mamapreneur Mentor | Kristin JonesWhat products or services do you provide?

Rodan+Fields is life-changing skincare for anyone with skin. From 6 months to 105+ years old, we have something for everyone. You don’t just have to live with your sensitive skin, acne, sun damage, or fine lines and wrinkles. I can help!

What has been your biggest business mistake?

We like to call it “R+F vomit”. When you first join, you are nervous and excited and you want to share, but most of the time you just end up over-sharing and giving so much information without ever stopping to listen to the other person.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

That I could be anything that I wanted to be but it would take hard work and effort to get there.

What do you wish someone would have told you before going into business for yourself?

That greatness is on the other side of struggle; push through and keep going. Your “why” is worth it!

What is your best advice for women in business today?Mamapreneur Mentor | Kristin Jones

Support one another! We need to cheer for one another. The world is big enough for all of our successes!

What is your favorite book for business?

How to Win Friends and Influence People – It is an old one but a good one. I read it for the first time in college and have read it a couple of times since.

What is your favorite book to read for fun?

I am a huge Dr. Seuss fan which is good because we read a lot of Dr. Seuss at my house!

Which woman inspires you the most and why?

My mom is my hero and best friend! She has taught me that no matter what you have been through in your life that you have the ability to pave your own way. Your future is up to you and your attitude towards it is everything. She showed me how to love, how to put others first, and how always see the glass half full. I have no idea what I would do without her. I talk to her at least 4 times a day and that is if I don’t need anything!

What do you think is the best platform to network with others in your industry?

My business is social commerce centered. Facebook and Instagram are my best friends!

What is one tool that you couldn’t run your business without?

Facebook would be the one right now. 90% of my business it done on it through posts and messages.

 

Mamapreneur Mentor | Kristin JonesLook for Kristin elsewhere on the web: 

Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Shop | Website | Other

 

 

 

 

Want to be featured as a Mamapreneur Mentor? Fill out the Mamapreneur Mentor application for your chance to be the next mentor featured!

Business

Mamaprenuer Mentor | Erin Branscom

I’m excited to introduce you to Erin Branscom who is today’s Mamapreneur Mentor. I’ve been working with Erin for almost two years and she has made an incredible impact on my company. I also love how she has transformed her business from a one person virtual assistant business to a multi-person team doing virtual assistance and marketing strategy. She and Rustic Barn Media Marketing are going places and I am so excited to share her wisdom with you.

Mamapreneur Mentor - Erin Branscom - Rustic Barn Media Marketing

Who is Erin Branscom

A Kansas mom working with her team of marketing consulting strategists and social media managers helping businesses achieve big goals.

What title do you use to describe your position in your business and why did you choose Mamapreneur Mentor - Erin Branscom - Jenn Elwellthat title?
Marketing Strategist-I love helping people market their business and achieve their goals through strategy.

What products or services do you provide?
Content strategy for mamapreneurs, social media marketing and executive administration assistance.

What has been your biggest business mistake?
Not being organized with my own business and processes.

What is the best advice you have ever received?
Stick with it!

What do you wish someone would have told you before going into business for yourself?
I wish I would have had strategies and procedures in place.

What is your best advice for women in business today?Mamapreneur Mentor - Erin Branscom - Jenn Elwell
Find your tribe and love them hard!

What is your favorite book for business?
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

What is your favorite book to read for fun?
The Bible

Which woman inspires you the most and why?
Jenn Elwell -She has been my mentor and taught me so much in the past two years and has allowed me to grow with her business. I’m very grateful.

What do you think is the best platform to network with others in your industry?
Instagram

What is one tool that you couldn’t run your business without?
FreshBooks

 

 

Mamapreneur Mentor - Erin Branscom - Jenn ElwellLook for Erin elsewhere on the web: 

Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter | Website

 

 

 

 

Want to be featured as a Mamapreneur Mentor? Fill out the Mamapreneur Mentor application for your chance to be the next mentor featured!